Phantom Eye demonstrates capabilities during 2nd flight
Boeing’s Phantom Eye unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) completed its 2nd flight on 25 February at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The flight saw the liquid hydrogen-powered aircraft demonstrate capabilities that will allow it to perform intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions for up to four days without refuelling.
During the 66 minute flight, the Phantom Eye climbed to an altitude above 8,000 feet where it cruised at a speed of 62 knots before landing. This was an improvement over the aircraft’s first flight in 2012 when it flew at an altitude of 4,080 feet and remained aloft for 28 minutes.
Improvements since the first flight have included an upgrade to the aircraft's software and hardware. This encompassed upgrades to the landing gear, resulting in what the company called a ‘picture-perfect’ landing for the second flight.
Darryl Davis, Boeing Phantom Works president, said: ‘Today’s combination of geopolitical and economic issues makes Phantom Eye's capabilities, affordability and flexibility very attractive to our global customers. No other system holds the promise of offering on-demand, persistent ISR and communications to any region in the world, rapidly responding to natural disasters and national security issues.’
Boeing is self-funding development of the environmentally responsible Phantom Eye, which generates only water as a byproduct of its propulsion system. It is being developed to carry a 450-pound payload while operating for up to four days at altitudes of up to 65,000 feet.
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